Archive by Month: January 2012

The Five!

1. Yesterday, I knocked off writing early to go outside and hang with my kid in the VERY unseasonable warm weather. She spotted a patch of clover in our garden and I suggested we look for four-leaf ones. Now, let me just say, I have NEVER before, in my memory, found a four-leaf clover. And I’m pretty sure I’d remember if I did, as I am a very superstitious, luck-believing (and needing) person. So I wasn’t super hopeful. But then: 

There it was. CRAZY! And even nuttier: I found TWO MORE in the same patch. I was so pumped. Meanwhile, my kid, not understanding how exciting this is, had moved onto throwing rocks. I took all three inside, pressed them in a book, and intend to keep them always. I mean, who knows when I’ll find another one?

2. For the past two nights, sleep has been hard to come by. I hate when that happens. Mostly because sleeping is one of my favorite things in the WORLD. Also, I become crazy when sleep deprived. Look no further than when my daughter was an infant and I was getting only 1-2 hour stretches a couple of times a night. First, I was forgetful. Then loopy. Then emotional. Then I REALLY lost it. My husband, to his credit, saw it coming. When we met with our post-partum doula while I was pregnant, she asked him what his greatest concern was about the baby coming. Without hesitation, he replied, “I’m afraid Sarah won’t get enough sleep and go crazy.” Done and done! Knowing this about myself justifies various remedies, like power napping. And sometimes crawling BACK into bed once someone else is up to hang with my early-riser daughter. Seriously, though: for the last two days, I’ve been wearing makeup. I NEVER wear makeup on regular, non-writer-stuff days UNLESS I have such dark circles under my eyes that I look haunted. So now, at least to me, I look like I’m ready for a pageant or something. There’s got to be a middle ground, someplace. Also: yaaaaawn.

3. Here’s another thing that won’t make you feel good: ripping the back of your pants. I don’t care how big or small you are, when this happens, it’s embarrassing. Especially when you notice it around dinnertime, as I did last night, and then are left to ponder WHEN, exactly, it happened and who saw you walking around with your underwear showing. Yikes. My daughter thought his was hilarious. My husband gave his standard response, “Damn, wide load!” (Which he will say to anyone who splits their pants, whether they are big, small or whatever.) Suffice to say, not my proudest moment. Thank goodness I’d just found that four leaf clover.

4. I have written here before about how much I LOVE This American Life, the radio show from WBEZ Chicago. It is my favorite podcast AND my favorite app, and kept me company during a lot of lonely book tour time. Me and Ira Glass: we’re like, BFFs. Who don’t really know each other. Anyway, today I was  at the gym, listening to an older show on my iPod while doing the weight machines. (Side note: I began doing this again when I noticed I was getting that wobbly-wiggly-tricep-shaking-when-you-wave-thing. No can do!) Anyway, so I’m listening, headphones on, and the guy talking is telling a story about a crazy crush he had years ago, and he says, “I was just  a steaming, hot pot of crazy,” and I literally busted out laughing, right there on the tricep press. Ha! If you haven’t ever listened, go do so for free on their website. It will make you laugh, think, cry. Sometimes all three in the same hour. Just try not to scare anyone lifting heavy things with your outburst.

5. Finally, this has been one of those weeks where I’ve had to be very grownup-y. (Yes, I know that’s not a word. Did I mention I’m tired?) I won’t go into detail but I’ve had some work stress and job things to deal with that were not fun, and that’s WITHOUT ripping my pants and wearing concealer in broad daylight. My first reaction, always, when this happens, is to regress. All I want to do is crawl into bed, eat potato chips, and sulk. Which is a little bit harder to do now that I have to, like, take care of another person. Still: tempting. More and more I realize that being an adult, at least for me, is not a constant state of being. Instead, it comes in waves and bursts, which I need to learn to ride better and utilize, because the next minute I’m bursting out laughing when someone says, “steaming hot pot of crazy.” (Tee-HEE!) I always thought that by this point in my life I’d feel like an adult 24/7. Not so. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. As a writer of YA, it’s helpful to be able to tap back into that younger state of mind. Not so much when I need to put my big girl pants on and make myself heard when someone’s not listening. Again, I guess it’s waves. Better than never at all, I suppose. And who wants to be a grownup ALL the time, anyway? Whatever. I’m going to eat potato chips now.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

The Five!

1. I am writing this in a coffee shop. Which is just so writer-y, right? I’ve said here before I can’t actually WRITE in coffee shops, because I am too easily distracted. I do best facing a wall or at least a dull view (usually, just some deer wandering by, eating my flowers, that sort of thing). But this has been One Of Those Mornings. You know the drill: up early, crazy chaos trying to get out the door to preschool, dogs barking, no time to breathe. And I have somehow lost my favorite sweater. I have a sinking feeling I threw it in the laundry by accident, which means it is probably now my daughter’s size. Whoops. So I am here, regrouping, with a cup of coffee. Which is the closest thing to the reset button I know. One, two, three…starting again!

2. Also this morning, my mind was kind of blown by this piece I saw on GMA about pregnant women doing extreme sports. They had this woman who was eight months along and scaling a rock face in Joshua Tree. EIGHT MONTHS! Holy pajamas. When I about six months along, I was in Asheville and walked to Malaprops, my favorite indie bookstore there, from our hotel, a distance of about four blocks. I was so tired once I got there I seriously considered calling a cab for the ride back. True story! And now, my kid is four and I STILL couldn’t climb a rock face because I am too tired. Watching that piece, I had the same feeling I do when I see celebs drop their baby weight in, like, ten minutes. Or say they love “EVERYTHING” about being a parent (I’m looking at you, Tori Spelling!). It just makes it hard to, you  know, eat your weight in potato chips after your kid throws a massive tantrum or think how much just ONCE you’d love to take a leisurely shower without little hands banging on the door. Bottom line: we all are doing the best we can. And it is enough. It has to be. Right?

3. If you are into YA fiction, this is a GREAT time to be hitting your local bookstores. John Green’s latest, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, is a number one New York Times Bestseller (woot!) and he’s on tour. Also out and about: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler, doing appearances for THE FUTURE OF US. I’m always happy to see YA getting great attention, but I am particularly thrilled to see books do well that are NOT about the undead. No offense to all the vampires and zombies out there. It’s just been a bit lonely over here in the realistic fiction realm. It’s a big pond, there’s room for everyone. But I am so happy to have good company!

4. My husband just called me. When I told him I was at a coffee shop, he said, “Being a writer? Are you wearing a beret?” This is another reason I could not work out in public. He would be merciless. (Disclaimer: I do not have  a beret. Although I have been known to wear a black turtleneck and look tortured, usually while on deadline.)

5. Finally, I got to do one of my FAVORITE things this week: a foreign edition book drop. Whenever a book of mine is translated into another language, I am given copies. Usually anywhere from two to ten. I only need one for my own collection, so I often find myself with a big stack of books in languages I don’t read that need homes. So I’ve come up with this system. Once I amass a few, I take them down to Dey Hall, on the UNC campus, where the foreign language department is housed. I leave them with a sign that says FREE BOOKS, TAKE! and then tweet about it, hoping they find homes. This time, I brought my daughter. We snuck in as classes were changing, put up our sign, then snapped a pic:

Personally, I think the princess stickers were a nice touch. Anyway, before I even LEFT I had someone stop and start rifling through them. YAY! And I heard via Twitter from two girls who took copies. It’s a small thrill, but such a fun one. I love to find my books good homes. And getting to do it at UNC makes it even better. Plus, as a reward for our good deeds, we hit Sugarland for cupcakes:

And yes, they DID taste as good as they look. And now I’m hungry. I wonder if they sell cupcakes here?

Have a good weekend, everyone!


…and I will have to keep this entry short, as we are indulging in my new favorite family tradition: Disney movies before dinner. Tonight, it is Tarzan, which I never saw. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember Disney movies being QUITE so traumatic. I mean, even in the lighter ones there is always a dead parent and a scary villan. Luckily my kid is easily distracted and keeps wandering off during the really worrisome parts. She did, however, just asked me what happened to Tarzan’s parents. I said, “Oh, they went away.” Which is sort of scary too, I guess, but not QUITE so much as being killed, you know, by a jungle cat.

Anyway. Once I am finished with Tarzan and she’s in bed, I get to watch one of my FAVORITE guilty pleasures, The Golden Globe Awards. There’s glamour! Fashion! Tipsy speeches! Does it matter that I have not seen hardly ANY movies this year? No, because they also do TV at the Globes. I WILL watch in my pajamas, pretending I am in an evening gown. As I say every entry lately: you do what you have to, in January.

Finally, today we visited my parents again, and again were sent home with a variety of items. My parents are moving from the house I grew up in this spring, so every trip over is like a fire sale/game show: I leave with parting gifts. The other day, it was this totally antiquated juicer that was passed down by my grandmother. Forget modern day appliances. LOOK at this thing:

Breakfast expediter or implement of torture? You decide.

Today, though, I left with something a bit less painful. At least in some ways. Among his papers, my father found a bound copy of my Creative Writing Honors Thesis from my senior year at UNC. Also known as the first novel I ever attempted to write. It is, in a word, terrible. I think I eventually finished it (note it says “novel in progress”) but I have no idea how it ended. It currently resides with all my OTHER books that didn’t work, in my closet and on backups. Oh, well. It’s still kind of fun to see. Not sure if I can bring myself to read it, however. Maybe after I make some juice.

Have a good night, everyone!

The Five!

1. I am having one of those days where my brain just has WAY too much to process, and so is processing nothing. I keep calling things the wrong names and losing my keys, that sort of thing. Plus, today I was the Friday Speaker at my daughter’s preschool, which is a Big Deal (at least around those parts). I was feeling the pressure. Other parents have done presentations about various cultures, or talked about their exciting jobs as doctors or fireman. I do think my job is exciting…just not to watch. Especially if you are four. So I brought one of my books to show them my picture on the back and said that I write books for bigger kids, then read three of our favorite picture books. (Which were, incidentally: SAY HELLO TO ZORRO! by Carter Goodrich, LLAMA LLAMA HOME WITH MAMA by Anna Dewdney and HIPPOS GO BERSERK by Sandra Boynton. Tough to pick just three!) Go figure that I can speak at BEA and in front of hundreds at book signings and still be nervous doing it before my kid’s classmates and teachers. But I think it went okay. Still, relieved to be done. WHEW!

2. Finally, FINALLY, new shows are coming back. I know it makes me sound shallow but I need something, anything to get me through these dreary winter months. (I have also been looking at beach house rentals, which is my other way of coping. If I can’t have summer, I can plan for it.) Last night was a new 30 Rock, which I didn’t even  REALIZE how much I’d missed. I love, love Tina Fey. I just want to, like, be her BFF and talk about parenting with her. Also there was a new Office, which is always a great thing. Now I just need ABC to finally bring back Cougar Town—the great show with the awful name—and I’ll be relatively sure I can make it to March. I know, I know, it’s TV. But you do what you have to do in January.

3. The other thing I’m doing to hang in there is reading, and lots of it. Right now I am LOVING Elissa Schappell’s BLUEPRINTS FOR BUILDING BETTER GIRLS, and I have on deck both John Green and Megan McCafferty’s newest. On my iPad,  I’m looking forward to FAITH by Jennifer Haigh (recommended by the fab Jennifer Weiner, who always picks great reads, I keep a list) and re-reading Sara Zarr’s STORY OF A GIRL, which I loved the first time around, years ago. Then, on audio, I just finished Mindy Kaling’s IS EVERYONE HANGING OUT WITHOUT ME (AND OTHER CONCERNS) which was great and honestly, JUST what I needed after eight hours about the Jonestown Massacre, which I’d listened to before it. Now I’m listening to Stephanie Madoff Mack’s book, THE END OF NORMAL. I know, my audiobook selections in particular are, to say the least, diverse. But at least never dull.

4. I am writing this from a shopping center parking lot, which MIGHT seem odd but is actually sort of nice. These days, now that I’m back to writing (yay!) I’ve had less and less time for blogging and all the other social networking stuff, so I cram it in when I can, where I can. Which is often in parking lots, for some reason. I have to say, though, one of my best investments EVER was this little T-Mobile mobile hotspot thingy (that’s not the technical term) I bought a few months back. It’s the size of a small cell phone and I pay something like $25/month for more than enough internet time than I need. I bring my laptop, pull out my hotspot, boot both up and have a secure online connection ANYWHERE. This is not a paid endorsement. I’m just saying because you, too, might want to have a mobile office right outside of CVS or preschool. We have the technology!

5. Finally, I’ve been pretty much MIA from everything other than writing and reading lately, but when I was lucky enough recently to be asked to do an interview by Claire Zulkey to be featured on the WBEZ website (which makes me think of Ira Glass and This American Life, two things I LOVE LOVE LOVE) I jumped at the chance. It’s up today, and you can read it here. And yes, I do talk about television. Not that you’d be surprised, but you have been warned. Thanks, Claire!

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Happy New Year!

Yes, I know I’m a bit late. Eight days to be exact. But one of my new year’s resolutions was to try to relax and not run so hard, so much of the time, and enjoy my life a bit more. Hence: less blogging. More princess games. You know the drill.

Still, I AM excited about 2012. I am back to writing (early stages, can’t talk about it, terribly superstitious/worried about jinxing myself) which makes me REALLY happy. Mostly because by the end of the book tour I was so tired I was convinced I could never write again. Amazing what some sleep can do. Like Mariah Carey said, back during HER breakdown, “Sleep deprivation is real, people!” Indeed.

I will say that January is not my favorite month. Nor is February. But at least new shows are coming back—30 Rock returns this Thursday!!!—and we’ve had some lovely not-winter like weather to spoil us. All good.

In my spare time—what’s that, again?—I opened a Twitter account for my rooster, Foghorn, simply because he is SO glorious. I mean, look:

It was really just a silly, stupid thing to do. But now he has over 700 followers! He already has WAY too much attitude. I think I will have to limit his Tweets so it doesn’t all go to his already large head. (He’s at @FoghornNC if you are on Twitter and are so inclined.)

Finally, I am still trying to find the balance with blogging and the rest of my life. I don’t like doing regular entries, because it becomes work, not fun. But I miss doing entries at all. I’m thinking this blog will become quick, little entries, when they strike me, with the pressure off for longer ones. It’s either that or go back to Tumblr, which, if I am honest, I don’t really understand. Sound good? I mean, I like to disappear and just be, you know, Snow White with my kid. But I also want to be able to tell you totally cool stuff like my rooster being on Twitter, or John Green’s new book—THE FAULT IN OUR STARS—-going on sale this Tuesday. Balance, people. Even as a clumsy person, or maybe because of that, I’m always hoping for it.

Have a good night, everyone!